Under the warm glow from the lights of the Bootleg Theater, Darker My Love proudly debuted their brand new album to an adoring hometown crowd last night. Dressed neatly a buttoned down shirt, lead singer Tim Presley looked very serious as he announced to the crowd, "Hello, we're Darker My Love...the band" (as if we were expecting them to be a tap dancing troupe...), and promptly launched into their first song.
It's been two years since their sophomore album 2 and in that time, Darker My Love has managed to reinvent their sound completely. Gone are the giant fuzzed out guitars and psychadelic swirls and in their place are crisper country-fried melodies and hooks steeped in Americana. The question was, could Darker My Love hibernate for two years, emerge with a new sound, and win the hearts of their old fans?
In a word, yes. Yes they could. Their new album Alive As You Are radiated from the rafters to the floor. Darker My Love is one of those bands for which the album is really a sketch of what they're capable of live.
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Walk into a show and suddenly those harmonies which were pretty on the album become ten times bigger and the melodies richer and more complex. It's like the Wizard of Oz when the film moves from black and white to color. Suddenly all these earthy sonic ideas are fully realized in a giant golden wall of sound designed to warm the depths of your heart.
The magnitude of the moment overcame the bassist Rob Barbato near the end of the set and he impulsively confessed, "I'm really lucky to play with these guys. They are amazing musicians and great friends," which immediately got gently mocked by the crowd.
As the evening drew to a close, Darker My Love played a few numbers off of 2 including "Blue Day" and "Even In Your Lightest Day" which showcased some of their former bite, but it was clear from the energy that the band really just wanted to play their new album. Out with the old shoegazey reverb, it seems jangly guitars are in season.
Missed their show? Don't worry! They're playing tonight at Fingerprints in Long Beach.